Majority Backs Sanctions on Russia Only With European Allies on Board

Most Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll support economic sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine - but only if the United States' European allies participate.

The result marks a general preference in U.S. attitudes for allied rather than unilateral action on international conflicts. In this case, 56 percent support imposing joint U.S.-EU economic sanctions on Russia. But support for the United States acting alone declines to 40 percent.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Views of Barack Obama's handling of the situation, for their part, are evenly divided, in line with his recent job approval marks overall. His ratings on the issue, as on others, are highly partisan: Seven in 10 Democrats and six in 10 liberals approve, while three-quarters of Republicans and strong conservatives disapprove.

Obama last week took steps to freeze the assets of Russian individuals and entities tied to the country's actions in Crimea and to deny U.S. visas to Russian officials involved in the situation. European leaders are meeting this week to consider economic and diplomatic steps; some analysts say they may feel constrained by greater economic ties between Europe and Russia.

This poll, produced by ABC for Langer Research Associates, finds that backing for sanctions falls by similar levels among Republicans, Democrats and independents - by 16, 17 and 20 points, respectively - when moving from multilateral to unilateral action. Democrats and Republicans go to an even split, while independents shift from 53 percent in support to 57 percent opposed.

Liberals and moderates also switch from majority support to majority opposition if European allies aren't on board. Conservatives go from six in 10 in support to evenly divided.

Support for multilateral sanctions is greater among men, younger adults, college graduates and higher-income earners than among their counterparts. In all groups, though, backing for unilateral U.S. sanctions fails to reach a majority.

METHODOLOGY - This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone March 5-9, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,014 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y.

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